Where were we?
Three weeks without a column, due to Klopp’s disregard for the cup and TV’s disregard for supporters, the landscape has barely changed.
It’s just modern football’s propensity for hysteria that makes you think there have been tumult and psychodrama aplenty.
I must be hanging with the right crowd because even after City lost to Newcastle, nobody I knew remotely thought Liverpool had the title sewn up. Only an idiot would.
For outsiders it isn’t enough that the Reds fail. We must also be humiliated and hoist by a petard they’ve tied us to.
Our two draws were half-expected, nobody keeps up the sort of run we’ve been on and both teams had been awkward opponents for top sides before.
It felt like we were losing our joie de vivre, a certain nervousness creeping in. Against West Ham that swung towards incompetence. Firmino was awful in that game, but great against Bournemouth. His performance mirrors the team’s. It was not a coincidence.
Fans began turning on each other, perhaps mindful of our recent record of one title challenge every five years. This is it, they think; now or never.
Any word of complaint or criticism was swooped upon. Naysayers were to blame, and anything less than total sycophancy bordered on treachery.
I’ve heard this nonsense for all 30 years I’ve written about Liverpool, and it never gets less irritating. These millionaires will struggle through just fine despite your caustic barb on Twitter.
There was a call for perspective, which is often called rationalisation. Well, how about this? We’re going up against a club with three titles in six years, who got 100 points last time, with arguably the finest coach of the modern era with limitless cash. That we’re here at all is miraculous.
Maybe, like Spinal Tap said, that’s too much fucking perspective. Things need to go our way, we knew that, and for much of the time they have.
Even with an offside goal Liverpool couldn’t finish off West Ham though, and the modern immediacy dictated Klopp was “cracking up”.
What he was saying to Pellegrini and the referee afterwards I’ve no idea, but he did look rattled. Virtually abandoning the FA Cup (to focus on the league and keep players fit) merely triggered a karmic inevitability where they began dropping like flies.
Had he wangled a 10-day rest just to play Jordan Henderson at right back? I somehow doubt it.
While remaining sceptical about the true levels of panic, there was undoubtedly a need to respond against Bournemouth.
It was easy enough. Liverpool have long since reached the stage where even going 1-0 up doesn’t drag 10 opponents out of their protective shell, but Eddie Howe’s team was sliced open by two more excellent strikes.
Goal difference could’ve been boosted. It was not for the want of trying despite Howe’s bizarre assertion his team might have got something and his desperate clinging to yet another offside ‘controversy’.
VAR might as well be called SLAAC, since most think it will “stop Liverpool at all costs”, but was it really meant for centimetre decisions? Isn’t it for blatant injustices?
There was something from Keita at last, not the real deal yet obviously but a few bits of skill and plenty of work-rate. That’ll always help a struggling player dig in.
Wijnaldum was excellent, and with more rest days to come Klopp may finally have hit on his midfield three. Greater tasks ahead, obviously.
So, time to relax and see if Sunday could provide any favours.
Cheering for Chelsea is weird, Lord knows they won’t ever be doing it for us.
Have we got to be tortured by other results as well as our own? It seems so. Two hours of Spurs and then 20 minutes of City, and for what? Nothing but despair. So much for relaxation…
See you in another two weeks. Who wanted to win the FA Cup anyway?